Cromey Online

The writings of author, therapist, and priest Robert Warren Cromey.

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Monday, December 23, 2013


The Birth of a Revolutionary

That Jesus was a rebel is the most important thing to remember about his birth celebrated on December 25. He taught that the highest good is healing the sick, feeding for the hungry, caring for the widows and orphans and seeking justice for all. He stood for love and forgiveness. He was not a political or military leader. He was not concerned about being popular or famous. In fact he shrank from large crowds and sought anonymity. He thought the end of the world was coming in his lifetime.

Good Pope Francis is a Christian leader who embodies Jesus’ message. But every Christian is called to assume those basic values. Sadly, Christians have been more concerned for sexual purity, birth control, abortions, isolating homosexuals and illegal immigrants. As a good Jew, Jesus believed in radical hospitality to strangers and foreigners. Many Christian today are more concerned about Santa and sleigh bells than justice for all.

I have been a priest of the Episcopal Church for fifty-seven years. Much of my time was spent in raising money for buildings, grounds, upkeep, stained glass windows, organs and salaries, including my own. Our church has been a leader in justice for African-Americans, homosexuals, in  ministries to those with HIV disease and, sadly, ministering to the dying, their lovers and families. However, our church has been beset by squabbles over women in the priesthood, same gender marriage, war and peace.

I now find that all my interest in Biblical literature, dogmas like salvation, incarnation, virgin birth, the trinity, resurrection, and and ascension of Jesus, falls far back in my mind, replaced by Jesus’ message: healing, feeding the hungry, seeking justice is what we should do.

I was delighted to read that the clergy of the Byzantine Orthodox Church are active in the protests against the government in the Ukraine. One seldom sees clergy of any church protesting the opposition to the Affordable Health Care Act. Since Jesus was a healer, can’t Christian clergy and lay people understand the legislation as healing for more and more human beings? I participate in a weekly Vigil for peace and Justice in front of the Federal Building at Golden gate Avenues and Larkin Streets in San Francisco. Quackers stared that vigil twelve years ago. Passion for justice and peace comes directly from the message of Jesus.

The atrocities committed by Christians in pogroms, the inquisition and racial and ethnic discrimination come from the church corrupted by government. When the church was recognized by the Roman government and authorities thereafter, the basic message of Jesus was lost. The church sadly reflected the values of government rather than the simple message of Jesus.

However, Christian church groups feed the hungry, found hospitals, teach from nursery through graduate school, and care for the poor in many countries around the world. Christian churches meet regularly for worship, community and out to others. We Christians give thanksgiving gifts in memory of the birth of Jesus the revolutionary.


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